Wisconsin could soon have a wolf hunting season under a bill approved by the Assembly early this morning. The legislation would allow a limited wolf hunt in the state starting each fall using a permit system similar to what’s currently in place for bear hunting.
State Representative Chris Danou (D-Trempealeau) voted for the bill, but raised concerns about the long term strength of the wolf population. Danou says he’s hopeful the state can manage the population in a “sustainable, responsible way.”
Wisconsin’s wolves were removed from the federal endangered species list late last year, giving back management to the state. Supporters of the bill argue a hunting season is needed to keep the population from exploding.
However, state Representative Janet Bewley (D-Ashland) warns the bill is setting the state up for a blood bath by allowing dogs to be used to track wolves. She also questioned the wisdom of reimbursing hunters if their tracking animals are killed, arguing that is likely to happen very often when the two animals are forced against each other in the wild.
State Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) also predicted the bill is likely to face a court challenge from Wisconsin’s Native American tribes. She accused Republicans of ignoring treaty rights by not consulting with the tribes when writing the bill.
The legislation was already approved by the state Senate. It now heads to Governor Walker.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:04)